Mini lives in our Southwark Semi Independent Housing facility, this means she only has to pay service charge, but she still has to buy food and other essentials. She used sleep rough. We spoke to her about how the Cost of Living Crisis is affecting her:
“I’m 34 years old and have no children or dependents. Life is hard and I feel I have to learn the hard way to cope with difficulties. This means I am relying on looking for extra support and meeting the right people through St Mungo’s to help me learn how to cope so I can work towards living independently.
I suffer from auditory hallucinations telling me to return to sleeping rough and right now I am learning how to manage my medication. My first thought when I wake up is to take my medication and then think do I need to spend any money today. I try very hard not to spend money every day.
I receive £334.99 Universal Credit a month, I prefer to be paid weekly as this will help me budget better. My main expenses are food, travel and rent. These days I am more aware of discounts and very careful how I spend my money.
When I applied for benefits I was shocked to see how little benefit I have to live on. If I have to travel I walk up to 20-30 minutes to save on bus fares. Due to various appointments I often spend £20 a month topping my oyster card.
I tend to make sandwiches more and only do food shopping 1-2 times a week. I cook fish, chicken soup, stew or pasta as these are the cheapest foods I can cook. I watch cooking programmes to know how to prepare cheaper simple meals. I used to work in a steak restaurant but due to my mental health had to stop and I miss eating meat where I was appreciative of good food.
I have had to rely on grants and vouchers to get clothes. I don’t have a bank account so currently my UC is paid in vouchers. One day I would like to be well enough to work again as I miss going to the cinema and theatre.
My thoughts about winter are is that I definitely need long sleeved tops, jumpers and a winter coat which I can’t afford, my key worker has informed me I may be eligible to apply for a clothing grant.
My health would have got worse had I not moved to supported accommodation and I am slowly learning about the different types of support available to me which I was not aware of. I feel lucky that right now I am living in supported accommodation as I only have to pay service charge.”
We are facing a once in a generation cost of living crisis, which will impact the poorest the worst.
We are working with the Government to make the changes needed to support the people through this crisis. Find out more about our work.
The cost of living crisis could lead to more people experiencing homelessness. Your support is needed now more than ever, donate here.